Rapid Prototypes for the Healthcare and Medical Industry

Overview of the Sector

The Healthcare and Medical sector is an area of significant technological advancement with new processes and techniques under continual development. Indeed, this market has contributed to many of the recent advances in rapid prototyping technology, in particular Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing materials. The application of good design is paramount for medical devices, implants, prosthetics and even training aids, with more consideration now given to aesthetics and user interface. Generating accurate, representative and highly scrutinised three dimensional models from CAD data is crucial for successful medical new product development.

How does Rapid Prototyping benefit the Healthcare and Medical sector?

Product development in the Healthcare and Medical sector poses a challenge for even the most competent of designer. In such a demanding environment, Rapid Prototyping has the potential to transform product development in many ways:

1. Customisation and Improved Ergonomics

Increasingly important is the application of good design with more consideration now given to aesthetics and user interface. Processes such as 3D printing have been embraced by the industry and the benefits have been widely publicised, as completely customised structures and equipment can be created to suit every individual patient.

2. Reduced Time to Market

Rapid prototyping is faster and more accurate than it has ever been. The facility to quickly generate multiple iterations of a physical evaluation model through 3D Printing can dramatically reduce product development times, allowing medical designers to explore more variations and eliminate failures faster.

3. Validation and User Trials

The ability to replicate the shape, texture, and functionality of a device or model through additive manufacturing (AM) processes allows extensive tests to be carried out using fully working prototypes. This has become key within the medical sector, where it often is necessary to make a clear, detailed assessment of how the end product is likely to perform.

4. Designs that are Optimised for Low Volume Manufacture

Due to the nature of the healthcare and medical market, products are often only required in low volumes where quantities won’t allow the amortisation of tooling investment across the production run. Furthermore, complex, free form designs can be produced through 3D printing that are stronger and lighter with a reduced carbon footprint, as material is selectively “added” during their manufacture.

5. Cost Effective Product Development

In an industry where market research and testing is paramount, RP processes like 3D printing offer Medical manufacturers flexible low cost access to multiple test parts that cannot be matched by traditional production methods. Outgoings are reduced in terms of expensive tooling, warehouse storage, shipping and a host of other costly resources.

Which Prototyping processes are most suitable for my application?

We can supply Healthcare and Medical rapid prototype and low volume solutions using our in house Vacuum Casting processes to produce parts which are almost fully representative of final injection mouldings, allowing user trials and market evaluation to be carried out prior to high volume production.

3D printing processes such as Laser Sintering (SLS) have also been embraced by surgeons and clinicians to aid them with reconstructive surgery and the pre-operative evaluation process. Stereolithography (SLA) is another 3D printing technology that has advanced inline with medical and healthcare new product development requirements. Our new NEOS 800 large frame SLA machine is now running WaterShed® 11122 resin, which is Class VI rated. This means it has passed biocompatibility protocols set by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) for plastics and polymers used in medical devices or surgical equipment that may come into contact with human tissue. The compounds approved are durable and resistant to environmental factors, highly protective, non-absorbent, and non-toxic, displaying properties similar to those of final production materials.

Utilising medical grade materials and anti-microbial coatings, our rapid prototypes can be manufactured to meet your exact visual and performance requirements.

Healthcare and Medical Testimonials

Paragon’s experience in the manufacture of bespoke Healthcare and Medical prototypes, from early concept development through to low volume production, means the team has a thorough understanding of this complex sector. Over the years we have established ourselves within this challenging market and have become a trusted supplier to many of the sector’s high profile organisations. We have been involved in the production of rapid prototypes that need to be both visually and functionally accurate for user trials, such as monitoring and diagnostic devices, digital radiography systems and prosthetics.

As a regular visitor of many of Europe’s key Healthcare and Medical events, such as Compamed, Med-Tech Innovation and Naidex, our innovative approach has always been welcomed by companies within the industry, as they explore new technologies, processes and materials for their new product development.

Our focus is on using our in house rapid prototyping processes to provide production solutions to our ever-growing Healthcare and Medical customer base, with continual R&D investment helping us to identify application specific materials. Furthermore, gaining ISOO 9001 accreditation positions us as a preferred rapid prototyping supplier with superior levels of quality.

Rapid Prototyping services we offer

Healthcare and Medical Applications

  • Drug Delivery Devices
  • Enclosures for Hardware and Monitoring Equipment
  • Prosthetics
  • Training Aids
  • Baby Products
  • Anatomical Models
  • Joint Replacements
  • Dental and Maxillofacial Reconstruction

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